Martin Brodeur is one win away from tying Patrick Roy's NHL record for career victories by a goaltender.
Brodeur posted his 550th win with a relatively easy 26-save performance, and the New Jersey Devils won a record ninth straight game at home with a 5-2 victory over Wayne Gretzky's hapless Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
The 36-year-old, four-time Vezina Trophy winner will get a chance to tie the mark in a storybook setting on Saturday, when he returns home to Montreal for a game against the Canadiens.
Zach Parise and John Madden scored in the opening 2:56 as the Devils won for the 11th time in 14 games. Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac also had goals.
Scottie Upshall and Steven Reinprecht tallied for the Coyotes, who have lost four in a row and seven of eight.
Devils' fans gloated in the woes of coach Gretzky's team, remembering the Great One's playing days when he referred to the Devils as a Mickey Mouse organization after the team moved to New Jersey in the early 1980s.
After the two quick goals, and at several other times during the game, the crowd chanted "Mickey Mouse Club" to rub it in.
It almost made Brodeur's closing in on the record a ho-hum part of the game.
Brodeur faced no more than five quality changes in winning for the sixth time in seven games since returning from surgery on Feb. 26. He missed 50 games after having a torn biceps in his left elbow repaired.
Taking advantage of a turnover, Parise scored 18 seconds after the opening faceoff for his 40th of the season. It came on the first shot against Josh Tordjman, a 24-year-old goalie making only his second start. This one came against his fellow Montreal native.
Jamie Langenbrunner set up Parise's second goal in two games by finding the left wing in the circle. His opening shot of the game found the back of the net.
Madden stretched the margin to 2-0 with the Devils' third shot. Defenseman Johnny Oduya took a shot from the right point and Madden tipped it into the corner of the net for his seventh goal.
That spelled immediate trouble for Phoenix, which has scored fewer than three goals in all eight games in their skid.
Upshall got the Coyotes back in the game at 9:34 with his 10th goal early in a four-minute power play assessed to Zubrus for high-sticking. Petr Prucha tipped a loose puck to Upshall, who backhanded it in with Brodeur caught out of position.
New Jersey broke the game open in the second period. Brendan Shanahan set up Zubrus for a one-timer at 7:11, and Elias converted a 2-on-1 with Brian Gionta for a 4-1 lead.
Zajac scored in the third period with the Devils' enjoying a two-man advantage. Reinprecht tallied with 2:08 to go.
Notes:@ Parise is the seventh Devils player to score 40 goals in a season, joining John MacLean, Brian Gionta, Pat Verbeek, Patrik Elias, Alexander Mogilny and Claude Lemieux. ... Devils D Bryce Salvador matched his season high with two assists. ... Coyotes RW Brandon Prust fought Salvador and David Clarkson. The officials let the scuffle with Clarkson go on for about two minutes during a chippy third period.
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